0
Clinical Investigations: ASTHMA |

Biofeedback Treatment for Asthma*

Paul M. Lehrer, PhD; Evgeny Vaschillo, PhD; Bronya Vaschillo, MD; Shou-En Lu, PhD; Anthony Scardella, MD, FCCP; Mahmood Siddique, DO, FCCP; Robert H. Habib, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Lehrer), Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ; the Department of Neurosciences (Drs. E. Vaschillo and B. Vaschillo), New Jersey Medical School, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ; the Division of Biometrics (Dr. Lu), School of Public Health, and the Department of Medicine (Drs. Scardella and Siddique), Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ; and Mercy Children’s Hospital (Dr. Habib), Toledo, OH.

Correspondence to: Paul Lehrer, PhD, Department of Psychiatry D-335, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 671 Hoes Ln, Piscataway, NJ 08854; e-mail: lehrer@umdnj.edu



Chest. 2004;126(2):352-361. doi:10.1378/chest.126.2.352
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Study objectives: We evaluated the effectiveness of heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback as a complementary treatment for asthma.

Patients: Ninety-four adult outpatient paid volunteers with asthma.

Setting: The psychophysiology laboratory at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the private outpatient offices of participating asthma physicians.

Interventions: The interventions were as follows: (1) a full protocol (ie, HRV biofeedback and abdominal breathing through pursed lips and prolonged exhalation); (2) HRV biofeedback alone; (3) placebo EEG biofeedback; and (4) a waiting list control.

Design: Subjects were first prestabilized using controller medication and then were randomly assigned to experimental groups. Medication was titrated biweekly by blinded asthma specialists according to a protocol based on National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines, according to symptoms, spirometry, and home peak flows.

Measurements: Subjects recorded daily asthma symptoms and twice-daily peak expiratory flows. Spirometry was performed before and after each weekly treatment session under the HRV and placebo biofeedback conditions, and at triweekly assessment sessions under the waiting list condition. Oscillation resistance was measured approximately triweekly.

Results: Compared with the two control groups, subjects in both of the two HRV biofeedback groups were prescribed less medication, with minimal differences between the two active treatments. Improvements averaged one full level of asthma severity. Measures from forced oscillation pneumography similarly showed improvement in pulmonary function. A placebo effect influenced an improvement in asthma symptoms, but not in pulmonary function. Groups did not differ in the occurrence of severe asthma flares.

Conclusions: The results suggest that HRV biofeedback may prove to be a useful adjunct to asthma treatment and may help to reduce dependence on steroid medications. Further evaluation of this method is warranted.

Figures in this Article

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Figures

Tables

References

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Find Similar Articles
CHEST Journal Articles
PubMed Articles
  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543